The Syriac Orthodox Church is one of the richest in musical heritage with her music dating back to the Sumerian period (4500 BC).
The early church adopted the Acadian musical tones, which were then developed to eight different tones, each for a specific Sunday of the liturgical year.
St. Ignatios Nurono “the Illuminator” (+ 107) founded the two alternating choirs (reflecting the heavenly Angelic choirs). Chamoun Ibn Sabaghin from Babel entered thereafter this form to the Eastern Church in 341. He called choirs for “Chorous”.
St. Ephrem the Syriac (+ 373) on the other hand, introduced a new form of music into the Church, mainly to eliminate Bar Dayson’s (+ 222) heretic teachings. He wrote nearly thirty thousand hymns and established the women choir.
He was followed by many famous church leaders like St. Isaac of Amid (+418), St. Balai (+ 432), St. Rabula of Edessa (+ 435), St. Jacob of Saruj (+ 521), Shamoun Quqoyo (+ 536) and others.
St. Jacob d’Urhoy (of Edessa) (+708) gathered all kinds of musical forms in the Syriac Orthodox Church and released them the current musical structure form.
All these hymns are protected today in the Beth Gazo (The Treasury of Chants) which contains up to 2500 different compositions, out of which about 700 or so survive.
The main role of Syriac Choirs is to lead on chanting mass hymns thus preserving the Syriac musical treasures.